The vehicle was unveiled in 2003 Geneva Motor Show, followed by Le Mans, 2003 Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2003 annual Bentley Drivers Club meeting at Silverstone,. Very importantly, the car differed significantly from the previous Continental R & T models in terms of its concept: although much of the car is hand assembled, it is a mass-produced car made in significantly larger numbers. It is not a coachbuilt car. As a result the price at launch was significantly less than the Continental R (approximately half) and this immediately exposed the car to a much wider and new customer base as a more affordable car.
The Continental GT is equipped with a 6.0 litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine, which produces a DIN-rated motive power output of 560 metric horsepower (412 kW; 552 bhp) at 6,100 rpm, and torque of 650 newton metres (479 lbf·ft) at 1,600-6,100 rpm. Torsen-based permanent four-wheel drive is standard. It will accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour (0.0 to 62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds, and go on to reach a top speed of 318 kilometres per hour (197.6 mph).
Early models include a choice of 6 body colours (Diamond Black, Burnt Oak, Cypress, Neptune, Spruce, and Umbrian Red), 8 hide colours (Beluga, Burnt Oak, Laurel, Nautic, Portland, Saffron, Savannah, Saddle), 5 veneer types (Burr Oak, Burr Walnut, Dark Stained Walnut, Madrona, Piano Black), 4 carpet and seatbelt colours (Beluga, Burnt Oak, Laurel, Nautic).